Hotpot brunch at Dai Pai Dong in Abu Dhabi

Brunch review: An evening offering at the stylish Chinese restaurant

Hotpot brunch at Dai Pai Dong in Abu Dhabi
Hotpot brunch at Dai Pai Dong in Abu Dhabi Image #2

One thing about Chinese cuisine that’s to be admired is the diversity, the range of ingredients, flavours and dishes that fall under the umbrella term. From delicate dim sum to Peking duck and everything in between, there’s a lot to love.

We’ve been to Shanghai and have dined in Chinese restaurants all over the world, but we can’t get enough and when it comes to Dai Pai Dong and we rarely need an excuse to visit.

The trendy restaurant on Al Maryah Island is stunning, whether inside the cool dining room, decked out in stylish décor from floor to ceiling, or out on the promenade, under the stars and looking out to the city skyline.

For this evening brunch we take our seats outside and look forward to night of hotpot.

If you haven’t tried it, first things first, you cook it yourself. Bubbling away at the centre of the table is a huge pot filled with fragrant broth. You choose ingredients to cook inside it and serve yourself. It’s fun and interactive and brings a new dimension to the usual meal out.

However, before that, we get our chopsticks around chicken and vegetable dim sum, crispy spring rolls and barbecued skewers of beef and chicken. You can order these as many times as you like to the table.

The dim sum is our favourite and we order a few baskets of them, alongside refreshing and spicy papaya salad.

Now, on to the hotpot. You can choose from two broths, a warming chicken version and a Szechuan spicy soup. The latter is genuinely hot. Red in colour from the dried red chillis you can see floating in it, it’s not for the faint hearted. The pot is split into halves meaning you can try both or have each side filled with the same one. We have both. In the name of research, of course.

The ingredients are all on a table in the restaurant and the menu lists the recommended cooking time for each one.

There are vegetables, noodles, beef, chicken, seafood and loads more to choose from.

We have a great time cooking our own meals. The wafer-thin beef (cooked in 30 seconds) is a treat. The chicken wontons are a real delight, especially in the spicy broth, and the seafood medley of squid, mussels and crab stick hit the spot too.

We return to the table for more food over and over again, we just can’t get enough of it.

It’s a brilliant way to enjoy a night out and different to your usual brunch, for sure.

There’s very little we can fault during our visit, except we feel that being outside, we’re a little neglected by the staff.

Considering we’re making most of our own food, you’d think they could keep on top of the starters and drinks.

That aside, we’re very impressed by this offering in the two-time (and current) holder of our Best Chinese restaurant award.

Keep it up Dai Pai Dong.
Dhs268 (soft drinks), Dhs388 (house beverages). Fri 6pm-11.30pm. The Rosewood Abu Dhabi, Al Maryah Island (02 813 5550).

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